From city to country: blogger and author Alexa von Heyden (ALEXA PENG) has made this step. She told us about her life far away from the fashion circus and how she integrates sustainability into her family life. 

    Can you please introduce yourself? 

    I am Alexa, 40 years old and mother of a little daughter. I work as a freelance journalist and write a blog called Alexa Peng | Villa Peng. The blog is about fashion, beauty, travel, and interior design. I was born in Bonn and have lived in Berlin for 17 years. 6 months ago we moved to the countryside and renovated our dream house at a lake. 

    Why do you do what you do?

    I was creative as a child and had a blooming imagination. I used to draw and make up the wildest stories. Since I always had bad grades in maths, it was obvious that I wouldn't become a business economist or a doctor like my parents. Actually, I wanted to become a fashion designer, but I lacked the talent for sewing. My original career ambition was to become a fashion journalist.

    Since when have you been dealing with the topic of sustainability?  

    My sustainable awareness has grown over the years. In my school, it was written on a wall: "We didn't inherit the earth from our parents, but borrowed it from our children". My big brother was a Greenpeace member; my sister and I were vegetarians and vegans for many years. I grew up with the commitment for the environment and animal protection.

    When it came to fashion, I didn't think sustainability was possible for a long time because the clothes immediately had this musty eco touch. The fact that now even large retailers such as H&M are using organic cotton, recycling, and energy-saving lamps shows that social change is actually taking place.

    Was there a trigger/personal key moment for this?

    Since my daughter has been born, I have been paying attention to the Oeko-Tex seal on her bodysuits and underwear. I didn't realize which poisons could be in her clothes. When I have the choice, I always buy sustainably produced items or the Conscious Collections.

    Alexa with her daughter and her husband.
    Photo-Credits: Sandra Semburg

    What has changed in your lifestyle since then?

    I think nothing feels better than buying sustainably produced things. I'm really proud of my achievement and tell everyone my story. I've become more selective about food: I buy a lot of organic goods. Here in the countryside, we get the eggs from neighbors who keep chickens in the garden. Imported mangoes or wines from New Zealand don't come into my house. My ecological footprint should be as small as possible, so I like to buy seasonal and regional. This also applies to German labels. I love the fashion Malaikaraiss and Santa Lupita and already own some pieces of them. My new discovery: Fassbender from Hamburg. They make great trench coats and bomber jackets.

    Do you think you can convince other people to buy and live more sustainably? 

    Everybody has to get to that point themselves. Personally, I don't like missionaries and I get endlessly annoyed when a new vegan lectures about how unhealthy cow's milk is for us humans. Consuming sustainably is a question of intelligence. If good products are good or fair and clean, why shouldn't I buy them? However, many people are not willing to pay more for such goods. They love their bargains. I think that's a pity, but I have to look into my own court.  Sometimes I can't resist fast fashion either. I prefer to invest in long-lasting classics, which in my opinion is also sustainable.

    What would you like to see in the future of the fashion industry and/or consumers?

    That sustainability will become normal. Fair wages, environmentally friendly production, and non-toxic textiles - these are the quality standards I expect as a consumer. I expect my fellow human beings to demand these standards just like I do. After all, sustainability as a theoretical concept is not enough. Only with what we actually buy we can change the economy.

     Can you name three sustainable hotspots in Wusterwitz? 

     Here in Brandenburg there are almost only sustainable spots! The 3 most beautiful for me are the Wusterwitzer See, the Elbe-Havel-Kanal, and the forest around our village. There are even wolves here, which cross the Polish border back into Germany.


    What are your 3 favorites from the wearness? 



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